CHGS investors terminate scheme

Seri Kembangan, Selangor: NINETY-NINE per cent of the Country Heights Grower Scheme (CHGS) investors yesterday voted for early termination of the scheme and accepted Tan Sri Lee Kim Yew's proposed RM25 million goodwill payment.

More than 1,300 growers attended the general meeting held by Plentiful Gold-Class Bhd, the management company of CHGS, and cast their votes.

Lee, who is Plentiful Gold-Class chairman, had personally undertaken to pay RM25 million or the sixth year dividend of 12 per cent by August 8. "I am making this offer in my own personal capacity. We don't pay out dividends because this scheme is a trust. But out of goodwill, I will fork out RM25 million."

On top of that, Lee said he would personally guarantee that growers would receive their 100 per cent cash money due from the termination of the CHGS by August 8 instead of the two years stipulated in the circular.

"I will ensure that the growers are paid within six months. If the company cannot come up with the money within the six months, then I will find ways to repay them myself," he said. 

Soon after the poll results were announced, Lee said "this is a happy ending", adding that the company has a lot of responsibilities going forward and delivering what has been promised. 

"I hope the growers appreciate what I have done and understand my good intention." 

Lee noted that Plentiful Gold-Class had paid out RM78 million in dividends in the last five years. This means investors had seen a return on investment of 48 per cent. 

Initiated in 2007, the CHGS had raised RM215.5 million. It is Malaysia's first oil palm farm-sharing investment scheme. 

Following the early termination of the scheme, Lee said the plantation land in Gua Musang, Kelantan will be put up for sale via an open tender at a reserve price of RM170 million. 

Any difference between the sale price and the total buyback amount will be borne by the parent company, Bee Garden Holdings Sdn Bhd.

Investor Chua Geok Seng, 57, told Business Times: "I'm not losing any money but I'm a little disappointed that this guaranteed interest scheme ended so soon. I had wanted this to be part of my retirement plan."